1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mantell, Gideon Algernon
|←Mantegna, Andrea||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 17
Mantell, Gideon Algernon
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MANTELL, GIDEON ALGERNON (1790-1852), English geologist and palaeontologist, was born in 1790 at Lewes, Sussex. Educated for the medical profession, he first practised in his native town, afterwards in 1835 in Brighton, and finally at Clapham, near London. He found time to prosecute researches on the palaeontology of the Secondary rocks, particularly in Sussex—a region which he made classical in the history of discovery. While he was still a country doctor at Lewes his eminence as a geological investigator was fully recognized on the publication of his work on The Fossils of the South Downs (1822). His most remarkable discoveries were made in the Wealden formations. He demonstrated the fresh-water origin of the strata, and from them he brought to light and described the remarkable Dinosaurian reptiles known as Iguanadon, Hylaeosaurus, Pelorosaurus and Regnosaurus. For these researches he was awarded the Wollaston medal by the Geological Society and a Royal medal by the Royal Society. He was elected F.R.S. in 1825. Among his other contributions to the literature of palaeontology was his description of the Triassic reptile Telerpeton elginense. Towards the end of his life Dr Mantell retired to London, where he died on the 10th of November 1852. His eldest son, WALTER BALDOCK DURRANT MANTELL (1820-1895), settled in New Zealand, and there attained high public positions, eventually being secretary for Crown-lands. He obtained remains of the Notornis, a recently extinct bird, and also brought forth evidence to show that the moas were contemporaries of man.
In addition to the works above mentioned Dr Mantell was author of Illustrations of the Geology of Sussex (4to, 1827); Geology of the South-east of England (1833); The Wonders of Geology, 2 vols. (1838; ed. 7, 1857); Geological Excursions round the Isle of Wight, and along the Adjacent Coast of Dorsetshire (1847; ed. 3, 1854); Petrifactions and their Teachings (1851); The Medals of Creation (2 vols., 1854).